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A Universal Job Recommendation Letter Template

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Apr 10, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

Are you tasked with writing a recommendation letter for someone and not sure where to start? While all letters should be uniquely customized to the candidate, most share a certain fixed structure.

This guide will go over this structure piece by piece to help you through the writing process. Read on for a recommendation letter template that you can use to shape your recommendation letter. To begin, let’s review the purpose of reference letters for job seekers.

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These 2 Recommendation Letters Got Me Into Harvard and the Ivy League

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jan 3, 2016 3:32:12 PM

College Admissions, Letters of Recommendation

When I applied to college, I was accepted into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, the Ivy League, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and more. While I had a strong overall application, the two teacher letters of recommendation were CRITICAL in getting me admitted.

Why? Both teachers said I was one of the top students they had ever taught. Both enthusiastically advocated for my personality, leadership skills, and energy.

How can YOU earn recommendation letters that will get you into your top choice colleges? I'll show you how in this article.

For the first time, I'm sharing my FULL, UNEDITED letters of recommendation as examples for you. These are the exact letters submitted when I applied to college. Even better, you'll see exactly what my Harvard admissions officer underlined - what really stood out as important and noteworthy. 

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My Successful Harvard Application (Complete Common App + Supplement)


In 2005, I applied to college and got into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. I decided to attend Harvard.

In this guide, I’ll show you the entire college application that got me into Harvard - page by page, word for word.

In my complete analysis, I'll take you through my Common Application, Harvard supplemental application, personal statements and essays, extracurricular activities, teachers' letters of recommendation, counselor recommendation, complete high school transcript, and more. I’ll also give you in-depth commentary on every part of my application.

To my knowledge, a college application analysis like this has never been done before. This is the application guide I wished I had when I was in high school.

If you’re applying to top schools like the Ivy Leagues, you’ll see firsthand what a successful application to Harvard and Princeton looks like. You’ll learn the strategies I used to build a compelling application. You’ll see what items were critical in getting me admitted, and what didn’t end up helping much at all.

Reading this guide from beginning to end will be well worth your time - you might completely change your college application strategy as a result. 

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More Amazing Recommendation Letter Samples from Teachers (Part 2)

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Dec 1, 2015 3:53:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

Last time we review how you would go about writing great recommendation for a student strong in literature or engineering (click here to see that post!)  This time, we continue the series and go over a strong social science recommendation as well as a general hard-wroker recommendation. 

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Common High School Policies For Recommendation Letters

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 14, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

When should you ask for a recommendation letter? Many high schools answer this question for you with an official timeline and procedure for your rec letter requests. In addition to school policy, your teachers might also set rules around how and when to ask for letters of rec.

This guide will go over the most common recommendation letter guidelines, as well as some not so common ones that you hopefully won’t encounter (like a lottery system!). To start, let’s consider which guidelines are set on a school-wide basis and which ones fall into the realm of individual teachers.

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How Many Recommendation Letters For College Do I Need?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 14, 2015 8:11:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

Colleges ask for all different numbers of recommendation letters. Each college sets its own policy, so it's always a good idea to double check each school on your list to make sure you understand exactly what it wants.

Typically, colleges want you to send a recommendation letter from your counselor. Additionally, they may ask for one, two, or, in rare cases, three letters from your teachers. This guide will go over the different guidelines so you know how many recommendations to collect when applying to colleges. First, let’s go over the different options.

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Recommendation Letter Requirements: How to Find

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 13, 2015 3:30:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

Along with researching your colleges’ deadlines and requirements, you also need to figure out exactly what each one’s policy is toward recommendation letters. Some schools may ask for one or two letters, while others may actually prohibit them outright.

This guide is meant to help you locate the crucial information you need. First, we’ll go over the questions you need to ask. Then, we’ll take you through the process of searching for this info, step by step. To begin, what do you need to know?

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A Great College Recommendation Letter Template

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 11, 2015 5:30:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

While the best recommendation letters are unique to each student, they all share certain key features that make them effective. This guide is meant to provide you with a structure to help you produce an outstanding letter of recommendation.

Not only will this recommendation letter template guide you through the writing process, but it will assist you in determining whether you’re able to truly recommend a student for admission to college. Before outlining the steps, let’s consider what goes into a good letter of recommendation.

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Why Are Recommendations Important to Your College Application?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 11, 2015 5:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

Many colleges use a holistic process to evaluate applicants, seeking to understand the "whole person" and not solely rely on grades and test scores. One way they accomplish this is by reading recommendation letters from teachers and counselors.

This guide will discuss what exactly admissions officers are looking for in your recommendation letters, and why they’re so important to your overall candidacy. By understanding the purpose of rec letters, you’ll be in a better position to gather strong ones for your application.

To begin, let’s take a closer look at what admissions officers mean when they talk about using a holistic admissions process.

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How College Admissions Officers Read Recommendation Letters

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 3, 2015 4:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

Sometimes the best way to learn about preparing your college application is to know how the process works on the other side. When admissions officers sit down to review hundreds, if not thousands of applications, what are they looking to learn about you? More specifically, what do they want to find out from your letters of recommendation? 

This guide will explore how readers consider your recommendation letter for college admissions, along with how you can use that knowledge to your advantage. First, what are the requirements for letters of recommendation?

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How to Get a Good Community Service Letter: 4 Steps to Follow

Have you done some volunteer work or community service and want to get a letter that shows how many hours you've completed and what jobs you did? Or maybe you need a community service letter to apply for a scholarship, job, or to a particular college? Do you know who you should ask to write the letter and what it should include?

Read on to learn what a community service letter is, why it’s useful, and how you can get a great one written for you.

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4 Amazing Recommendation Letter Samples for Students

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 30, 2015 4:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

How important are recommendation letters in a college application? According to William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, they are "extremely important."

If you're a student, examples of great letters of recommendation can help you understand how to get strong letters yourself from your teachers. If you're a teacher, the examples in this guide will inspire you to support your students strongly as they apply to college. Keep reading for 4 excellent letters from teachers that will get anyone into college, along with expert analysis on why they're so strong.

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3 Examples of *Excellent* Letters of Recommendation from Counselors

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 30, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

School counselors play a huge role in helping students get into college. Not only do counselors support students in laying the groundwork for their applications through class selection and extracurricular involvement, but they also provide them with the very important counselor letter of recommendation.

Whether you're writing a letter youreslf or getting one for your application, letter of recommendation examples can help you see why an effective letter is effective. In this guide, we've written 3 strong recommendation letter examples for you to use for inspiration. 

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4 Examples of Recommendation Letters You DON'T Want From Counselors

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 30, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

Since school counselors support students through all four years of high school, they can write some of the best, most personal letters of recommendations. At the same time, they have the added challenge of writing lots, often hundreds, of letters for all the college-bound students on their caseload. 

While almost all counselor references will comment positively on a student, there can still be bad ones that don't offer a whole lot to a student's college application. Let's look at examples that demonstrate the four most common reasons a recommendation letter is bad: it's impersonal and generic, it's repetitive, it gives no specific examples, or it expresses serious reservations about a student.

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3 Examples of Bad Letters of Recommendation from Teachers

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 29, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation


While you may have seen examples of really impressive recommendation letters, what about the really bad ones? What exactly do bad letters look like, and what makes them so subpar?

Bad recommendation letters can be hard to put a finger on, because they aren't necessarily critical or disparaging about a student. Instead, they might leave a poor impression because they come off as unenthusiastic, unspecific, or simply too short. The examples below represent letters that would do very little to help a student's college application and, worst case scenario, could even hurt it.

By knowing what weakens a letter or leaves a negative impression in the minds of admissions officers, you can make sure your letters don't contain any of these features. First up...

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